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Trio of women’s tennis players gears up for NCAA singles, doubles championships

Senior Elysia Bolton (left) and freshman Elise Wagle (right) hug during a match. The duo will be teaming up for the NCAA doubles championship in Illinois starting Tuesday. (Shengfeng Chien/Daily Bruin)

By Olivia Simons

May 23, 2022 11:23 a.m.

This post was updated May 23 at 11:39 p.m.

Two Bruins will have their last shot at a championship while another will take on an individual tournament for the first time.

After the UCLA women’s tennis team’s exit in the second round of the NCAA tournament, a trio of Bruins will be heading to Champaign, Illinois, for the NCAA singles and doubles championships starting Monday. The tournament will be the final matches in blue and gold for senior Elysia Bolton and junior Abbey Forbes and the first shot at an individual crown for freshman Elise Wagle.

“They want to finish strong, and they want to do well, so for them to get an opportunity to play in an individual championship is really great icing on the cake for them,” said coach Stella Sampras Webster. “For our freshman, she’s (Wagle is) just super excited to have made it. … She’s excited to see what it’s like.”

Bolton and Wagle will be teaming up for the doubles tournament, while Bolton and Forbes – who is graduating a year early – will take a stab at the singles bracket.

Both Bolton and Forbes have experience in the tournament, with the former competing in her third career NCAA singles and doubles tournament and the latter seeing action in her second. Last season, Bolton paired with then-graduate student Jada Hart in doubles and reached the quarterfinals, while Forbes reached the same round in the singles bracket.This year, Bolton will be in both brackets for the first time since her freshman year.

“I was kind of honestly shocked that I got into both,” Bolton said. “I was not expecting to make individuals – potentially doubles but certainly not singles. … I’m really looking forward to playing with Elise and doing my best in singles.”

Bolton’s partner, on the other hand, will be heading to the individual tournament for the first time. Wagle and Bolton have been playing together since their days at Laurel Springs School in New York and have played nearly every match together this season.

Including postseason play, the duo finished the season with a 10-4 record. But in the NCAA team tournament, the pair lost both of its matches by scores of 6-2 and 6-1.

Wagle said they’re working on improving the parts of their game that held them back in the team championships.

“(We’ll be) probably just staying aggressive, staying on the ball more because we play our best tennis when we’re both closing, both coming in,” Wagle said. “I think that’s what hurt us in the team NCAA, so we’ve just been trying to just stay on it in that aspect.”

Individually, Bolton has accumulated an 8-5 record in singles, while Forbes’ record stands at 12-2.

The Bruins had their final team practice at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Friday, with one last opportunity for Forbes, Bolton and Wagle to spend time with their team on the courts before heading to Illinois.

Wagle said she’s grateful to have a final opportunity to compete for her team with Forbes and Bolton.

“I’m just looking forward to spending the last tournament with them because I know that it’s kind of over for the rest of my team,” Wagle said. “I have the opportunity to spend one last tournament with them, so I’m really happy about that.”

The singles bracket will begin Monday, while the doubles competition will start Tuesday.

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Olivia Simons | Managing editor
Simons is the 2022-2023 managing editor. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's tennis, men's tennis, swim and dive and rowing beats and a reporter on the baseball and women's tennis beats.
Simons is the 2022-2023 managing editor. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's tennis, men's tennis, swim and dive and rowing beats and a reporter on the baseball and women's tennis beats.
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